By: Jen DeLuca
Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.
When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.
Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.
I’ve mentioned it before, but one of my favorite tropes is falling in love through text. I love it in movie or book format. It’s just so romantic. I was excited to read Well Played not only because of the premise but because I enjoyed the previous book Well Met. Sadly, Well Played was not as good.
Stacey, or Beatrice when she’s at the Faire, was the heroine. She’s plus-sized, which I enjoyed. There was a scene where she was trying on a bridesmaid’s dress, and I really connected with what she was feeling. The book starts with her in a funk. She’s stuck and not sure what to do with her life. It had been thrown off course when her mother had a heart attack, but years later and Stacey hasn’t recovered. Enter the “hero.”
One drunken night, dejected and depressed, Stacey sends a message that starts a yearlong communication. She falls in love only to have the rug pulled out from beneath her twice. Each time the man apologizes and just fucking walks away! UGHHH!! Are you kidding me?? Twice! TWO TIMES!!! It’s Stacey that has to fight for their relationship. She’s the one that makes the grand gesture. She’s the one that reaches out. It is soooooo frustrating.
I knew a twist was coming. I even knew what that twist was going to be. I was hoping for something huge from the hero as an apology, and the only thing we got was a nice letter. It was a major let down. Even their happily ever after (more like happy for now because I don’t see the relationship working long term) didn’t make things better. There was no longevity to any of it. That could just be me with that particular complaint.
I plan on reading the next book because I like the setting and Well Met, but I was very disappointed in this one. My favorite trope, one I’m willing to give a pass on things that would typically bother me, and I can’t move past the lack of passion on the heroes side.